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Cosima zu Knyphausen - Cento
A selection of paintings by Cosima zu Knyphausen over a period of five years, accompanied by an essay by Rahel Schrohe, and a poem of the artist.
A cento is a poem composed of verses or fragments from various literary texts that are collaged into a new one. The word comes from an ancient Latin term which means a blanket made of textile scraps.
This etymological root interweaves important aspects of Cosima zu Knyphausen's practice: the materiality of a piece of cloth—the support of the paintings—with the process of quoting, paraphrasing and appropriating art historical motifs, in order to imagine an alternative canon that is shaped by lesbian desire.
Cento brings together a selection of paintings by Cosima zu Knyphausen from the last five years. Instead of following a chronological order, the works are presented in an intertextual reading that puts them in dialogue and show the range of interests that the artist has pursued in her versatile practice, such as her variations on the motif of "women reading", Christine de Pizan's medieval feminist utopia, the interior of a Berlin queer bar, and egg shell universes.
Accompanied by an essay by Rahel Schrohe, and a poem of the artist, the pages of Cento are overarching Cosima zu Knyphausen's themes, as well as assembling the book itself as a context for the work: a mosaic, a patchwork garment, an egg.
Cosima zu Knyphausen (born 1988) is a German artist. Her works seem to tap into the sacred space between the intimate and the historic. In her paintings she challenges the depiction and reception of iconic motifs, illuminating specifically the conventions around representation of women in (art-)history. Often departing from literary or artistic references, her motifs depict an alternative history of female artistry, acknowledging its rich yet muted legacy. Highlighting the entanglement of creation and desire, she repeatedly engages with queer or female spaces: from depictions of gay bars, settings in the artists own studio, mediations on the muse, all the way to illuminations from Christine de Pizan's literary utopia The City of Ladies. With an exquisite employment of colour, hazy brushstrokes only just hint at figuration as objects like nails, staples or eggshells occasionally find their way onto the canvas—a welcome disruption as to contrast the tenderness of the motifs, accentuating the bold utterance of zu Knyphausen's work.
Texts by Rahel Schrohe and Cosima zu Knyphausen.

Graphic design: Studio Manuel Raeder and Cosima zu Knyphausen.
published in February 2024
English edition
18,7 x 23,6 cm (softcover, dust jacket)
158 pages (ill.)
ISBN : 978-3-96436-073-1
EAN : 9783964360731
in stock

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